When it comes to ranking public access to broadband networks, Connecticut has been consistently among the top five U.S. states for over a decade. In 2020, Connecticut topped two lists including best broadband access by BroadbandNow and WalletHub recognized the state as No. 1 in internet access to households as part of their Best States for Working from Home report.
How did we achieve a network that reaches 98% of Connecticut households? It was the result of $2 billion of investments by cable companies over the last seven years. This provided a world-class network that, even during the increase of usage brought on by the pandemic, was ready and able to handle the greatest surge it has seen to date. The network they built continues to deliver the speeds and support the capacity residents need while they are working, learning, and connecting, from home.
The industry is proud of this and the state can be, too.
While broadband is available to nearly 100% of the state, we recognize that now more than ever is the time to help every citizen and student adopt broadband services by signing up for internet at home. This year, our industry, through the initiative of Gov. Ned Lamont, has been supporting the adoption of broadband through two actions:
- Through the state’s Everybody Learns initiative, which is making sure students have the technical equipment and computers they need to get on the internet. The administration has delivered over 140,000 thousand laptops to students in need, and we expect continued efforts to get the necessary hardware to anyone who is still in need.
- Our member broadband providers have offered free and low-cost service (starting at $10/month) to low-income people. These programs, like Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, for instance, are available to consumers across Connecticut.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic, our member broadband providers have opened their network of public Wi-Fi hotspots for anyone to use for free and continue to offer two free months of low-cost broadband service to eligible low-income families through June 2021.
This year has also proved that our approach of investing in the network was the right course. We were prepared for the demands tied to COVID-19 and will be prepared for new challenges ahead. We will continue to build and invest to routinely expand network capacity, while increasing access to new and emerging technologies like 5G and 10G.
The state’s broadband ranking is one we can be proud of — an achievement that took time and investment in the state from our member broadband providers. As more people look to work and educate remotely, let us promote this as a reason to be proud to live and work in Connecticut.
Timothy Wilkerson is President, New England Cable & Telecommunications Association